Ever been on a mobile site and then a big pop-up ruins your day? Well Google hates it too.

Beware the Pop-up!

If you have a site that has little side pop-ups for promos or to try and catch emails addresses, you might not like this news.

Google has stated that starting next January, they're not going to view interstitials (that inter-stit-ials) as being good for mobile sites.

For those who aren't quite sure what exactly these are, take a look at this screengrab I've taken on my mobile of IMDB

Count the number of Xs you see on the screen.  and how much gets in the way of displaying the page content.

This is the page for Stranger Things (which we all know is great btw) but looking at what it's like on mobile you'd have no clue what the page was actually about without getting rid of all those interstitials.

These little interferences can all be viewed as pop-ups that get in the way of you trying to access the content you originally wanted to see. And if that's the case on your site, or you have a big banner pop-up on mobile promoting a special offer, it could actually end up hindering your site's mobile performance.

And while some sites like IMDB go a bit heavy on these, they can still be used ever so subtly as even Google does when you want to do something as simple as look for pizza nearby.

So what is there to learn from all this?

The big takeaway for how to handle interstitials on your mobile site is simply to make sure not to :

  • - Show a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • - Display a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • -Use a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

You've been warned!

Google has said that this won't all take effect really until January so you have plenty of time to get your sites in check and make sure that that 2017 doesn't start off as a developer's nightmare.